I very recently had similar. Had been rubbing for days thinking something in my eye. Went to pharmacist and she said try saline eye bath for few days and if no better see optician. (I'd gone in asking if they had anything more constructive than an eye bath!) Improved from first eye bath with immediate effect! So I'd say first stop - pharmacy x
A chalazion maybe - I had one removed last year it looked like an ulcer from the inside ie under eyelid and there was a lump visible on the outer eyelid and it was very sore indeed - hard to tell from the picture though - you can get chloramphenical eye ointment from chemist over the counter so maybe try that for 3 days and if not, then he will need to be seen. I ended up going private for my chalazion as they don't do them now as a rule NHS - they used to up until a year or two ago but now deemed cosmetic although wasn't just cosmetic for me often used to get infected and whole outer lid was often red and puffy and terribly sore.
It’s inflammation of the Meibomian glands of the eyelid. The medical name is hordeolum internum. It’s often caused by infection though can also be an allergy or sensitivity. He should see an optometrist or GP.
I'm going to sound really dumb so apologies in advance... My opticians have only ever done the glasses thing. What can they do if this eye is a deeper medical issue? Do they refer to hospital or just tell you to see go? Can they prescribe antibiotics etc?
It’s not dumb, most people don’t know the difference between an optician (dispenses glasses) and an optometrist (can do in-depth eye examinations).
Optometrists can’t prescribe but the commonest treatment for this sort of infection can be bought over the counter, so that doesn’t matter. The big advantage of an optometrist (I say this as a GP) is that they can do a much more thorough eye examination as they have better equipment than a GP.
I would always go to an optometrist first with this sort of issue and have a proper examination. Optometrists work at opticians.
From experience, always better to go to opticians rather than a GP with an eye problem. They have the proper equipment to look properly at the eye which the GP doesn't have. They will probably have more experience of eye problems than a GP will. They will be able to refer you immediately to the eye casualty dept in the local hospital where you'll be seen straight away.